Join Now! Digital Subscriptions Start At Only $5.50/month!
High draft position buoys system.
With Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell and Jesse Winker, the Reds have a trio of pure hitters near the top of their prospect rankings. With a ballpark that helps everyone hit home runs, that trio could produce high averages and on-base percentages to go with solid power production. Overall the Reds system is deep in likely future big leaguers, though scouts see the majority of them as decent secondary pieces rather than future impact players.
The Reds have spent significantly on catching prospects in recent years, but with 2015 first-round Tyler Stephenson struggling to stay healthy and 2016 second-rounder Chris Okey and defensive wizzes Stuart Turner and Joe Hudson not hitting, the Reds don’t have a logical replacement for Tucker Barnhart and Devin Mesoraco on the near-term horizon.
Notable Graduations: RHP Luis Castillo (10) showed swing-and-miss stuff, while RHPs Sal Romano (8) and Robert Stephenson (4) and LHPs Cody Reed (2) and Amir Garrett (3) all exceeded 50 career innings.
Track Record: High expectations follow players drafted second overall, like Senzel, but even by those standards he has overachieved in his brief pro career. After a good start at low Class A Dayton in 2016, he jumped to high Class A Daytona in 2017 and earned a midseason promotion to Double-A Pensacola. Senzel performed better in the Southern League than he had in the Florida State League, particularly in terms of power production. He hit .340/.413/.560 with 10 home runs for the Blue Wahoos in 235 plate appearances. He finished the season on the disabled list with a bout of vertigo, but he reportedly began to feel better after returning home and resting. Scouting Report: Scouts see plenty to like about Senzel from a tools standpoint, but those who have seen him time and again like the intangibles just as much. He runs hard, grinds out at-bats, takes extra bases, plays smart in the field and leads his team. He's not only the best player on the field but plays the hardest. That mentality is coupled with a good approach at the plate and a short, compact swing with good balance and bat speed, leading to high exit velocity off the bat. Opponents say they rarely see him get fooled, and he constantly barrels balls. While many questioned his power coming out of college, he has shown the ability to drive the ball to all fields. Among his 10 Double-A homers were multiple shots to center field and the opposite field. Though not a prototypical burner, he still shows above-average speed to go with good instincts on the bases. Defensively, Senzel has shown the potential to be a plus defender at third with a strong, accurate arm that he has shown he can use on the run. He played shortstop and second base in addition to third base in college, but he has proven to be a quick study at third, working on his footwork with Pensacola bench coach Dick Schofield. The Future: With the emergence of Eugenio Suarez at third base in Cincinnati, the Reds don't feel rushed to promote Senzel to the big leagues. Still, they expect to have to make tough decisions in 2018, when Senzel will likely reach the big leagues. Both he and Suarez have shown defensive ability at third, but barring a trade, one of them could move to either second or a corner outfield spot. Senzel will likely start 2018 at Triple-A Louisville, but he shouldn't be there too long.
Track Record: The Reds were ecstatic when Greene "fell" to them as the second pick in the draft and paid him a $7.23 million bonus that is a record for the current draft format. The prep righthander offered pro potential as both a power-hitting shortstop and a pitcher. The Reds drafted him as a pitcher and let him DH at Rookie-level Billings as he built up his arm. Greene said he's a full-time pitcher going forward. Scouting Report: Greene pitches at 98-100 mph and touches 102 with a top-of-the-scale fastball. What's most notable is how easy he gets to triple-digit velocity. His slider flashes plus and his changeup has been more consistently plus, but he still is inconsistent with both of them. He commands his fastball well, even when nearing the century mark, although scouts looking for nits to pick note that hitters seem to see the ball well coming out of Greene's hand. At the plate he's shown raw power, but scouts worried about his hit tool. A steady glove at shortstop, he also has an obvious plus-plus arm. The Future: The Reds will ease Greene into his first full year of pro ball, likely starting out at low Class A Dayton on tight pitch counts.
Track Record: A record-breaking high school running back in Georgia, Trammell's multi-sport background kept him from playing baseball year-round. After drafting him 35th overall in 2016, the Reds signed Trammell for a well above-slot $3.2 million to woo him from his college football commitment at Georgia Tech. At low Class A Dayton, he ranked among the Midwest League top 10 in on-base percentage and slugging percentage,. Scouting Report: A gifted athlete, Trammell showed improved plate discipline. He has a feel to hit that should help him be an above-average hitter. His bat has untapped power that should come as his body fills out. Trammell's plus-plus speed helps cover poor jumps in the field. He projects as an average defender in center field, but his well below-average arm could limit him to left field. His speed also helps him on the bases where he has shown good instincts, although as he fills out he may trade some of that speed for increased power. The Future: Trammell turned 20 after the season and should start 2018 at high Class A Daytona. He has the potential to develop into a first-division corner outfielder, particularly if his power continues to grow.
Track Record: The younger brother of the Angels' Greg Mahle, Tyler became the second member of his family to reach the big leagues with a late-August callup. In previous years, Mahle had struggled after a promotion, but in 2018 he performed right away at Triple-A Louisville and the big leagues. In April, he threw a perfect game for Double-A Pensacola. It was his second no-hitter in two seasons. Scouting Report: Mahle has a skinny build and lacks the frontline stuff of some of the Reds' other pitching prospects, but his plus command and control allows him to succeed. While command will always be Mahle's calling card, he's hardly a soft-tosser. He sits in the low 90s but runs his fastball up to the mid-90s, and the final pitch of his April perfecto read 99 mph. His slider and changeup are both potentially average offerings, with his slider flashing above-average. His curveball is a get-over pitch. The Future: Mahle finished the season in Cincinnati by making four starts, and he will enter spring training with a chance to join the Opening Day rotation. Ultimately, he profiles as a No. 4 starter.
Track Record: Winker was the best hitter in every lineup he appeared until he played with Joey Votto. He has hit at every level, including at Triple-A Louisville, where he started for the second straight season in 2017. The Reds called him up three separate times, and he performed in the big leagues just as he had in the minors. Scouting Report: Scouts don't question Winker's ability to hit, but as a corner outfielder, his power potential has come into question. He can put on a batting practice show, but his game power was lacking until he reached the big leagues. Winker hit seven home runs in 121 at-bats--or as many as he hit in the minors in 2016-17 combined. Opinions on his fielding ability range from below-average to average in either corner outfield spot. Few players benefit from Great American Ball Park and its small outfield dimensions as much as Winker. It helps boost his potentially average power and aid his defense. The Future: General manager Dick Williams has already said Winker has nothing left to prove at Triple-A. At the very least, he will be a member of a big league outfield rotation in 2018.
Track Record: Even as a prep pitcher in Texas, Santillan looked like he would fit in with the Reds' recent infatuation with physical pitchers such as Sal Romano, Rookie Davis and Nick Travieso. Even in high school, he had a big fastball to go with a big body. Though he struggled in his first go-round in the Midwest League, he comported himself much better in 2017, ranking third in opponent average (.222), fourth in strikeouts (128) and fifth in ERA (3.38). Scouting Report: Santillan has long had a near-top-of-the-scale fastball, but he refined his 88-91 mph changeup a potentially plus offering in 2017. His 90-91 mph slider is a work in process that flashes plus with good tilt and depth, though he has shown little consistency with any of his pitches. His delivery has little deception, but he throws 96-98 mph with movement. His ability to start depends on developing even fringe-average control. Right now Santillan's control and stuff varies widly from start to start, but at his best, he can dominate. The Future: With his talent, Santillan could move quickly. He will begin 2018 at high Class A Daytona, but he could continue climbing and reach Double-A Pensacola.
Track Record: Siri's second go-round at low Class A Dayton went much better than his first. He hit just .145 in 27 games there in 2016 before being demoted to Rookie-level Billings, where he finished 2015. At Dayton in 2017, Siri not only led the Midwest League with 46 stolen bases and finished second in homers with 24, he also set a league record with a 39-game hitting streak. Scouting Report: Siri's tools can make any scout drool--he is an 80 runner with plus raw power, arm strength and range in center field--but there is still a genuine concern about his hitting approach and makeup. Siri swings and misses frequently but impacts the ball when he connects. The Reds left him in low Class A all year despite his age (he's the same age as Senzel) because they wanted him to have success to build on. His aggressiveness at the plate will be tested as he climbs the minor league ladder. Regardless, Siri has genuine power-speed potential and is true center fielder, which makes him a high-risk, but high-reward prospect. The Future: Siri turns 23 during the 2018 season, which he should begin at high Class A Daytona and conclude at Double-A Pensacola or higher.
Track Record: Drafted as a catcher in the 12th round in 2013, Long moved to second base in 2015 to take advantage of his bat. He started slowly at high Class A Daytona in 2017 before catching fire and earning a starting nod in the Florida State League all-star game. He hit 13 homers in 62 games before being moving up to Double-A Pensacola, where a wrist injury sidelined him for three weeks in the final month of the season. Scouting Report: Long's 5-foot-8 stature belies his power. He has quick, strong wrists that produce thunder in his bat. He has a solid approach, even if he's not looking to walk. Defensively, Long has improved at second base to become fringe-average, though his bat will always be his calling card. While not a burner, Long has the savvy to steal bases. Long's background behind the plate is a plus that can add flexibility as an emergency catcher, and that skill could be a tiebreaker as the Reds fill out their bench. The Future: Long will get another chance at Double-A in 2018 after struggling there in 2017. Though the Reds have plenty of options at second base, Long could work his way into the big league picture soon.
Track Record: The Reds have been as aggressive as any team in terms of signing Cuban players. It started with Aroldis Chapman and continued with Raisel Iglesias and now includes Guerrero and shortstops Alfredo Rodriguez and Jose Israel Garcia. Gutierrez signed with the Reds for $4.75 million in August 2016. He pitched for high Class A Daytona in 2017 and performed well before tiring near the end of the season and sitting out August. Scouting Report: Like Iglesias, Gutierrez worked as a reliever in Cuba, and because he's less athletic than Iglesias, he could be destined for the bullpen. He has flashed a plus fastball, changeup and pair of breaking balls–his slider is generally better than his curve. On some nights the two end up blending together. His fastball ranges from 90-97 mph depending on the night. Gutierrez attended instructional league and participated in drills but did not compete in games. The Future: Gutierrez should start 2018 at Double-A Pensacola, where the Reds hope he can pitch a full season. He was in big league camp in 2017, often paired in throwing groups with Iglesias, and he could do the same again in 2018.
Track Record: Stephenson's second full season ended the same as his first: on the disabled list at low Class A Dayton. In 2016, he suffered a concussion that caused him to miss time and then a right wrist injury that required surgery. Stephenson's 2017 season ended prematurely with a thumb injury suffered while sliding into second base. He returned in time for instructional league, giving the Reds a sense of optimism going forward. Scouting Report: While Stephenson struggled in his first full year, he showed a better eye at the plate in his return to Dayton. His plus power potential is real, even if he hasn't put up eye-popping home run totals so far. His large frame oozes power potential that could only be bolstered once he reaches Great American Ball Park. The development timetable for catchers takes longer, and Stephenson's injuries have slowed him even more. He threw out just 21 percent of basestealers in 2017. As a long-limbed catcher, he has to work to maintain the flexibility to be an adequate receiver. The Future: The most important thing Stephenson has to show is that he can stay on the field as he advances to high Class A Daytona in 2018.
In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account.
Login or sign up